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Hardball Weekend

News/Business. The best of 'Hardball With Chris Matthews.'

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Mr. Miller 9, Benghazi 7, Us 6, Georgia 4, U.s. 4, Irs 3, Washington 3, Mr. Levin 3, Reichart 3, America 2, Kingston 2, Geico 2, Cia 2, Mr. Reichart 2, Charlie Rangel 2, Paul Broun 2, Mr. Rangel 2, Clinton 2, Pickering 2, Offing 1,
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  MSNBC    Hardball Weekend    News/Business. The best of  
   'Hardball With Chris Matthews.'  

    May 18, 2013
    5:00 - 5:30am EDT  

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death in taxes. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. call me a charlie rangel fan. today i watched him at the hearings on the irs mess. i heard him say everything i believe. it's this. if you have a problem in a company or on a team or in a government agency, you deal with it. you get rid of the bad apples. it's the one sure way, only sure way to convince people what they're seeing as bad has been removed. now, if you want the company or team or government agency government, itself, to look
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back, hoot and holler. don't fix the problem, don't get rid of the bad apples. let them sit there and smell up the whole barrel. let them stink up all the apples. the republicans have a lot to holler about here. they have their fat target. what i'm impressed by is the lawmakers who sees the problem, wants to actually fix it because he, like me, believes in what government can do positively. i have two members of the house ways & means committee joining me tonight. and u.s. congressman dave reichart is a republican from washington. i want to start with congressman reichart. sir, put this in perspective. we're going to look at the tape from the media. let's look at the tape first and react to what we saw. here's something from today's hearing on the ways & means. let's listen. >> the reality is this is not a personnel problem. this is a problem of the irs being too large, too powerful, too intrusive, and too abusive
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of honest, hardworking taxpayers. >> is this still america? is this government so drunk on power that it would turn its full force, its full might, to harass and intimidate and threaten an average american who only wants her voice and their voices heard? >> you get a letter from you folks, or a phone call. it's with terror you look at it. now this kind of reconfirms that, you know what, they can do almost anything they want to anybody they want, any time they want. >> the bottom line is for those looking, this is an audit, and it's helpful, but it's the tip of the iceberg. it's the tip of the iceberg. >> let me go to congressman reichart. is the problem, as you see it, the fact that we have an irs, the fact we have an internal revenue service that collects the federal income tax from individuals or corporations, or is the problem is you've got really bad culture in there where people can look you right in the eye and say, i'm not prejudice, i'm not political, but they are? what is the problem? >> well, i was hopeful today to hear some straight answers from
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mr. miller. it didn't happen. so as the viewers watched and as the members of congress participated in the conversation and the exchange in questions and answers, it became very obvious very quickly that mr. miller was not there to take responsibility. in fact, he said, look, i'm not comfortable with the word "targeted." that didn't go on. he offered an apology. but then he offered excuses immediately after that. he wouldn't even in my questioning acknowledge the fact that certain groups were treated differently. he answered, in fact, he answered no to that question. then what i asked him, is it not your responsibility to provide the information that you knew about this situation to congress? he would not answer that question. so, chris, you know, today i think was really a sad day for america as people watched this interview, because the -- it
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starts with the leadership. and the leadership, today, in the irs, showed arrogance, showed a lack of concern and brushed the, in my opinion, just sort of brushed the issue aside. >> congressman, thank you. you've been around. i don't know what i saw. i certainly saw a disconnect today. that mr. miller guy. i don't know what -- it's like he didn't see what he knew people certainly right, left and center could see, that when you target particular groups, you're targeting particular groups. i mean, if this were on the other foot, and this was a george w. administration, they were targeting groups that were calling themselves progressives, i would say it's prima facie evidence of targeting. i don't think it's complicated. what's your view, congressman? >> my view is that the criteria were very inappropriate. there was terrible mismanagement. i think there was very terrible oversight. and there was a failure to be in touch as they should have with the congress. but the i.g., the inspector general, when asked was there
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any political motivation for the people in the exempt organization in cincinnati, the lower level people who were working on this, he said no. was there any outside influence? and he said no. so when the chairman, and i brought his language, started off his opening remarks saying it's the latest example of culture of cover-ups in this administration, there was no evidence today to support that. it was politicization of a very, very sad chapter by people who were works and who misworked. >> let's take a look. here's steve miller. he fell back on a familiar response in washington, mistakes were made. he said any mishandling of cases by the irs had nothing to do with partisanship. let's listen.
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>> as acting commissioner, i want to apologize on behalf of the internal revenue service for the mistakes that we made and the poor service we provided. i think that what happened here was that foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection. the listing described in the report, while intolerable, was a mistake and not an act of partisanship. >> congressman reichart, i respect everything you're doing here. i'm just questioning some of the thinking by the chairman of the committee, mr. levin mentioned. is there any evidence on your side of the aisle that there was interference from the white house in the irs mishandling of these cases? >> well, i think it's important to remember that what we heard in the committee hearing today was that this is an audit, and that the investigation, although the -- mr. george could not confirm verbally in the hearing that the investigation was continuing. i think that's the impression he left upon all of us in the committee. there is an ongoing investigation. now, the audit occurred. now the investigation occurred.
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you can draw your own conclusion. so can your viewers. when you listen to the testimony of mr. miller. mr. miller can't even remember his -- the names of the people who are in his chain of command. he can't even remember who he talked to last, what was the conversation about. did he talk to anybody in the secretary of treasury's office? he can't even remember dates, times and places. and finally, he couldn't remember when i asked him, who did you talk to about this? who came up with the criteria? if mr. levin is correct and the i.g. is correct, because he did stipulate this as well, he found this, that there was no evidence of white house influence or obama campaign influence, if that's correct, is this still appropriate of your chairman to keep saying culture of corruption throughout the government and this is an example of it if it had nothing
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to do with the presidential influence at all? >> i don't think that's proven yet. >> sure you do. okay. here's the question. if you have no evidence right now this friday of any white house involvement and don't have any evidence next week and the week after that, when do you stop accusing the white house of being corrupt in this regard? >> i'm not accusing -- >> at what point do you say, we don't have evidence? >> chris, i'm not accusing the white house of anything. i haven't made that statement at all. >> the culture of corruption from this administration, what's that mean? >> that's not coming from me. i didn't say that. what i'm saying is, look, i'm an old cop. i want to base my, what i say, on facts. and so -- >> good. >> -- today i was looking for
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facts from mr. miller. mr. miller did not provide any facts, chris. listen to the testimony. >> could i say -- let me say a word. >> there were no facts, mr. levin, that mr. miller provided to this country -- >> okay. >> -- as to why and how this criteria was applied. >> mr. reichart, you did a good job here. what do you want done here? i personally want to see the bad apples thrown out of the barrel. i'm not going to be satisfied watching this. as a typical person, if you have a big problem, there has to be a big solution. two people walking isn't enough. the american people are still going to believe, if they see the same people there, they've got the same problem there. only, as charlie rangel said today, mr. rangel said there's a cancer here, you got to remove it. do you agree with mr. rangel? >> i think there has to be action. look, i was the first democrat to say that mr. miller should be relieved of his responsibilities and so miss lerner. i said that a few days ago. i believe absolutely we need to get to the bottom of it. just don't throw apples at the top if you have no evidence to
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support it. and in the hearing today, there was no such evidence. we should have a nonpartisan hearing, not look for political points. >> okay. let me agree -- thank you, both, for coming on. mr. reichart. thanks for coming on. give us a sense of your structure so we can identify who made the decision to code the republicans are gleeful over the outreaj. so much so that they are urging republicans to bring up any legislation. in other words, just keep the scandal complex going. # it won't look if they place the cards right. how sequester cuts endanger critical search that could affect you. the national institute of health. and if you believe evolution is a lie or you can stop being gay, then a republican senate primary down in georgia is made for you. and this is hardball. a place for politics. [ male announcer ] running out of steam?
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welcome back to "hardball." this week the white house tried to put to rest talk of some massive politically motivated cover-up on benghazi. releasing 100 pages of e-mails. there they are. showing exactly how and by whom the talking points for that appearance on sunday morning's "meet the press" by susan rice was put together. republicans seem far from satisfied. >> you don't have to be sherlock holmes to figure this out. the story of benghazi, if accurately reported, would undercut the narrative bin laden's dead, al qaeda's on the run and they manipulated the evidence to help their political re-election. that's pretty obvious. >> that was lindsey graham of south carolina speaking after the white house released all those e-mails showing it was actually the cia who played the largest role crafting the talking points in the end. one man who knows more about what happened in benghazi than anyone on the planet is thomas
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pickering. he co-chaired an independent review of the attacks. a legendary career as a diplomat serving republicans and democrats in the world's hottest spots. his review of benghazi didn't sugar coat what happened concluding there were systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at the state department. yet republican congressman darrell issa strongly criticized the record and issa wants the ambassador to answer questions but not in a public hearing. let's listen to his rationale for that. >> the fact is we don't want to have some sort of a stage show. we have fact witnesses. they testified. we have the ambassador and admiral mullen who conducted and oversaw the arb. we're inviting them on monday. we'll go through not in front of the public but in a nonpartisan way questions and answers and then obviously a hearing to follow in an appropriate time. >> this afternoon u.s. congressman issa took the next step issuing a subpoena for ambassador pickering. he wrote the "in light of your
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continuing refusal to appear voluntarily for a transcribed interview, however, i found it necessary to issue a subpoena to compel your appearance at a deposition." thomas pickering joining us. >> chris, i've just seen this. certainly i'm consulting with the state department and the lawyers there. my response, i hope, will find a way to move ahead. i've always wanted a public hearing. apparently that's not going to be in the offing. i think that's a serious mistake. and this is a serious step. and obviously i take it that way. i'm interested in finding a way to make sure that our report is defended, that i answer all the questions. my hope is to do so in public because the public deserves to know. >> when you think, when you're explaining to people who really seem to have -- i didn't know the gentleman. everybody loved him. ambassador chris stevens. he struck me as a dashing foreign service officer. a diplomat willing to take some
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reasonable calculated risks. willing to go into areas that aren't completely protected. and we can't put a bunch of uniformed men into a country we don't have a post-colonial or historic connection to anyway like libya. you can't have lots of people around, especially if you're protecting or covering a cia facility. lots of factors here. do you think there was any way to have protected him short of him not having gone to benghazi that day? >> yes, i believe there was, and i in our report listed the shortcomings that may well have helped in that regard. this is only a guess. chris was a wonderful ambassador. chris worked for me for two years. i admired his work. he had absolutely the right concept. americans need to get out and talk to people and understand what things are happening in these countries overseas. >> yeah, i was a peace corps volunteer, too, and i think it's wonderful when these guys and women become diplomats because
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they don't hide in the compound and eat hamburgers and watch super bowls. they get out and meet people. you know what i mean. he wasn't a striped pants guy. i've got david corn here of "mother jones." he and i were talking, mr. ambassador. >> i have a question for you, mr. ambassador. you put out a thorough report. unclassified version. there was also a classified version of your report which i don't expect you to talk about right here. but is there a way to fully understand what happened in benghazi and the security challenges there without really knowing what was going on in what you describe as the annex, which i assume was covered in the classified version which has been publicly reported as a cia facility? it seems like we're only getting a part of the story because a lot that was going on there was classified. >> yeah, to the best of my recollection, action at the annex was also covered in the unclassified report. particularly in the discussion of what happened on the night of september 11th, 12th, 2012. and i would ask you to read that. i think it was done with care.
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it avoided the classified, but i think it's there. certainly that action was important in looking at the whole picture, and we reviewed it. >> but in terms of the security position there, and what was happening before the attack, and whether there should have been more security or less security and why these sites are targeted. i mean, those sort of questions. it seems, you know, you have to tiptoe around some very important issues here. >> well, i didn't in the classified report, obviously. but i think it -- our report was heavily focused on the state department facility. that's correct. i think it is important to know that in our report, we listed a number of shortcomings. we held people responsible. it was a tough report. it was not an easy report for us to put together. all of that, if there are people who have questions, and if chairman issa has questions, i want to respond to all his questions. but i would certainly prefer to
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do it in public just as the criticisms of our report were made part of the public report. and my sense is that we have answers to those questions. i've spoken in a number of places about them. i'll be glad to speak to you about them here. >> you know, mr. ambassador, with all respect, and i think i do -- i do have respect for you. i'm not using it in the usual term where people don't mean it. i mean it. there are two questions that loom out there for the average person who reads the paper. why wasn't hillary clinton examined by you since she was apparently on the phone several hours after the first attack? let's start with that one. why didn't you interview her? >> there are two pieces there. one, we had a good discussion with her just about a week before we wound up. that discussion took place after we had completed a number of our findings, including the fact of who made the decisions that affected security in benghazi and who reviewed those decisions? they did not go to secretary clinton. the second piece was on the night of she had meetings. we reviewed a number of the events at those meetings with the people who attended those
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meetings. had we had any additional questions, we would have asked them. there were no additional questions with respect to that. and i believe that we covered that thoroughly. >> the strange thing is, and we cover the news here almost 24/7 around here, and i didn't know that hillary was even on the phone with tripoli until a couple days ago. wasn't that important to you to make sure that was highlighted? she was, in fact, engaged in the early troubleshooting here? in fact, after the tragedy was exposed? >> i believe that was covered in our report. certainly it was something we knew about. it was my understanding at the time that it had been in the public, but i could be wrong there, chris. >> okay. let me ask you the profound political charge made. david, with one last question coming up, when you're right you're wrong? the candidates in georgia are practically tripping over each other saying extreme things down there. [ female announcer ] love.
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ha! back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. this past week was a banner one for minnesota congresswoman michele bachmann with the 37th house vote to try and repeal obama care. on top of that, bachmann's first 2014, you got it, 2014 campaign ad hit tv screens in minnesota. 17 months before the election out there. any guesses on the subject matter? >> great news, the u.s. house just passed my bill to repeal obama care. obama care promised us lower costs and a better health care system, but the truth is just the opposite. passing my bill is just the first step toward lower costs and improved health care. >> look, i've been watching these for years. i know what her problem is her. her pollster person is telling her she has wickedly bad numbers
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on the issue of effectiveness. she's trying to prove she's doing something but she isn't. next, georgia senate candidates. "mother jones" found whoppers in the quote file for the three republican candidates down there. paul broun, phil gingrey, and jack kingston, all currently u.s. congressmen. here it goes on the subject of why same-sex parents should not be allowed to adopt children. "if they wanted a babe by bad enough, they could make that choice." do you believe it? it's the 21st century. in other words, just don't be gay. next on the subject of evolution, jack kingston said, "i believe i came from god, not a monkey. i don't believe a creature crawled out of the sea and became a human being one day." is that what evolution is? finally, before obama care was passed paul broun said, "if obama care passes, that free insurance card that's in people's pockets is going to be as worthless as a confederate dollar after the war between the states, the war of yankee aggression." that's a race to keep your eye on down there in georgia. i don't think can win there.
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